I am starting a marketing consulting business where I will provide services to small to mid-sized emerging and established businesses in a variety of areas: communications work, branding and identity work, promotions, event planning and management, and strategic planning (not heavy on this). I have PR consultants, graphic designers and IT people with whom I would partner with as needed. I don’t know whether I should determine my fees per project, per hour or on retainer and don’t know if I should break out fees based on whether I am doing the work or outsourcing it and project managing it. Also, do I vary fees by business size/type or keep it steady no matter what? My target market is small businesses and feel that their budgets can be limited. Any suggested fees or structure for fees would be so appreciated.
Jay’s Answer: From your client’s perspective, they don’t care if you do it in-house or not. They’re hiring you to do the job.
From your perspective, you care about the resources (time & materials) you need to achieve the client’s goal.
If the job is well-defined, a fixed price makes sense. If it’s vague, you could charge them an hourly fee to define the scope and specification of their needs. Then you could quote them a fee to implement the plan.
As for a the actual price, it depends on how much value you bring your client. If you can help them earn $1M (and can prove it), then $100,000 may not be unreasonable. It depends on the ROI you bring them.
For small businesses (with small budgets), start small. Keep the projects simple, well-defined, and affordably priced to build up the relationship (and to establish yourself). As you prove your worth, find out the value you bring, and charge accordingly.